News Review: ICANN63 Meeting Oct 20-25, Unfit ICANN's Tipping Point?

graphic "News Review" ©2016 DomainMondo.com
Domain Mondo's weekly internet domain news review (NR 2018-10-21 with analysis and opinion: Features •  1) ICANN63 Meeting, Barcelona, Spain, 20-25 Oct 2018 2) Other ICANN news, 3) Names, Domains & Trademarks, 4) ICYMI Internet Domain News: GDPR & Internet Freedom, 5) Most Read.

“Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push, in just the right place, it can be tipped.”--Malcolm Gladwell.
"... [EPDP] working group was due to make its interim recommendations by an ICANN meeting [ICANN63] in Barcelona in October, but the meeting approaches, there is no sign of consensus ... The current temporary policy was only possible because the ICANN board imposed it, in an unprecedented break from tradition. So, what will happen next? As is often the case with ICANN, the organization and its multi-stakeholder process is facing an existential crisis. Unable to solve this thorny policy issue for 20 years, ICANN’s latest group is unlikely to find consensus in the following days. ICANN has lost in the German courts and the European Data Protection Board (pdf) views with skepticism ICANN's claims that the interest of 'third parties' can justify continued collection and publication of WHOIS data ..."--Emily Taylor (EPDP RrSG member), ChathamHouse.org (emphasis added).
"... ICANN has consistently asserted that it is not a government regulator and it is readily apparent that it cannot be relied upon to fill that role. To the extent that ICANN has historically involved itself in pricing, it has been to increase pricing for the mutual benefit of itself and Verisign, at the expense of the American consumer [domain name registrants] ..."-- 18 Oct 2018 Letter (pdf) from Internet Commerce Association (ICA) to David Redl, NTIA, US Dept of Commerce re: Expiry of NTIA-Verisign Cooperative Agreement Nov 30, 2018 (pdf) (emphasis added).
Civil society groups blast ICANN Org’s push for a “Unified Access Model”--internetgovernance.org Oct 19, 2018: "... some participants in the [EPDP] group are becoming uneasy about ICANN CEO Goran Marby’s relentless promotion of a “Unified Access Model” [UAM]. They fear that the CEO’s “discussion papers” and calls for public comment are turning into a parallel policy development process that will pre-empt or circumvent the decisions made by the EPDP and other normal ICANN processes. Yesterday the Noncommercial Stakeholders Group (NCSG) published a blistering set of comments (pdf) on Marby’s UAM ..."
Editor's note: for further background read last week's News Review | Fadi, Akram & Donuts, ICANN Conflicts of Interest and "ICANN: incompetent, corrupt, unfit."

1) ICANN63 | Barcelona | 20th Annual General Meeting  20-25 Oct 2018.
ICANN63 | Barcelona  ©2018 DomainMondo.com
ICANN63 Highlights:
Saturday Oct 20
Sunday Oct 21
Editor's note: GNSO Council meeting agenda for Sunday, October 21, at 13:55 to 14:10 contains the following item: Update on RPM PDP Complaint/RPM Co-Chairs--link is to GNSO mail list item from RPM co-chairs Phil Corwin and Kathy Kleiman--the other RPM co-chair is Brian Beckham:
"... as members of the ICANN community are not presently aware that this situation exists, and as a 15-minute session cannot be expected to lay out the facts in a completely clear and comprehensive fashion, we wonder what follow-up explanation will be provided to the community as well as interested media if follow-up questions are subsequently raised. We look forward to Sunday’s discussion so that the Council and community can start to learn as much as possible from this situation and take responsive steps ..."
Monday Oct 22

Tuesday Oct 23
Wednesday Oct 24
Thursday Oct 25
Editor's note: readers will note I have made no other mention of the RPM working group (RPM WG) other than the Sunday GNSO agenda item above. The RPM WG has been working on the URS (UDRP to come in a later phase), which only applies to new gTLDs and a few other gTLDs but not .COM. Registrants are fortunate that among the active members of the RPM working group are  EFF's Mitch Stoltz, as well as Harvard Law Professor Rebecca Tushnet who posted to the RPM mail list Oct 19:
"URS levels of support for public comments ... I don't think the staff categorizations have worked. If the ultimate point is to get feedback on potential fixes that have been raised, and we don't want to spend a lot more time on this, then I would say we may need to pass on the proposals as non-consensus proposals for community feedback. As Greg Shatan [IPC] did, I supported proposals for comment that I am presently unlikely to support for adoption; based on other comments, I suspect many of us did so--which means that any staff-prepared summary of objections received is also going to be unrepresentative of the full range of arguments against a particular proposal unless we spend a lot more time on it. One specific thing: the charter asks if the URS is fit for purpose. If you agree that the charge allows the answer "no," then one recommendation for a fix is "make it the UDRP," if you think the game isn't worth the candle. That proposal is thus clearly within scope."
ICANN Meeting & Media Resources:

2) Other ICANN News
graphic "ICANN | Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers"
a. The ICANN GNSO EPDP Working Group has a busy week at ICANN63 with four face-to-face (F2F) meetings and a special high interest topic Monday session (links to all above). Links to all EPDP meetings' transcripts and recordings are on the GNSO calendar. Other EPDP links: wiki, mail list, action items, Temp Spec, EPDP Charter (pdf), GNSO's EPDP page and updates. Info on last week's Oct 16 meeting on last week's News Review

GDPR & EPDP related:
  • Comments of the NCSG (pdf) (Non-Commercial Stakeholders Group) re: ICANN org's Unified Access Model.
  • 17 Oct 2018 Letter (pdf) embed below, from NCSG (Non-Commercial Stakeholders Group), Dr. Farzaneh Badiei, and Dr. Stephanie Perrin to ICANN Board of Directors re: "ICANN org violates data protection laws and principles to advance the interests of certain parts of the community"  [Domain Name Registrants Data Protection (GDPR)]:

  • ICANN Board's response 20 Oct 2018 (pdf) to the above embed letter from NCSG re: "ICANN org violates data protection laws and principles to advance the interests of certain parts of the community." 
  • Governmental Advisory Committee’s (GAC) Initial Comments (pdf) on the Draft Framework for a Possible Unified Access Model (UAM) for Continued Access to Full WHOIS Data.
  • 16 Oct 2018 Letter from ICANN Compliance (pdf) to "Independent Compliance Working Party" re: GDPR etc.
  • ICANN Registry Request Service | Proposal 2018067 | .cloud | Complying with Local Law (Domain Name Registration Validation) 18 Oct 2018 rsep-2018067-cloud-request-18oct18-en.pdf (pdf).
  • First Semiannual Report To Congress (pdf) on NTIA’s ICANN Activities (FY2018) excerpt: "... In addition to the EPDP, NTIA is also pursuing avenues for specifically addressing the development and implementation of a unified access mechanism to permit access to non-public WHOIS information ..."
  • The FY19 ICANN Board Activities & Priorities: ".... European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ... Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) - We are closely monitoring these discussions, with two Board members serving as liaisons to the EPDP. We acknowledge the progress that has been made so far and look forward to the group reaching timely consensus on a new policy to replace the Temporary Specification ..."
  • 12 Oct 2018 Letter from AppDetex / Ben Milam (pdf) to ICANN Board Chair Cherine Chalaby and CEO Göran Marby re: WHOIS Enforcement Process. Editor's note: this letter is hotly disputed by certain "contracted parties."

b. EBERO: Request for Proposal: EBERO Services | ICANN.org--EBERO in ICANNspeak is "Emergency Back-End Registry Operator" services--"For a complete overview and timeline for the RFP, please click here (pdf) ... Indications of interest must be emailed to: EBEROServices-rfp @ icann.org by 23:59 UTC on 05 November 2018. Complete proposals must be electronically submitted by 16:00 UTC on 3 December 2018 using the ICANN org sourcing (RFP) tool, access to which will be granted after receipt of an indication of interest to the email address above." More info at link above.

c. ICANN Revised Community Travel Support Guidelines--Travel the World on "ICANN's dime."

d. New gTLD .AMAZON: objecting correspondence (pdf), more info here (pdf).

3) Names, Domains & Trademarks
graphic "Names, Domains & Trademarks" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
a. New Domains: A Wide-Open Playing Field for Cybercrime--DarkReading.com.

b. Intellectual Property And Public Disclosure--jdsupra.comall companies, particularly startups, should adequately protect any IP before there are any public disclosures.

c. Google's Google+ Branding and Domain Name #FAIL--MorganLinton.com.

4) ICYMI Internet Domain News 
graphic "ICYMI Internet Domain News" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
  • GDPR: GDPR DPAs have been deluged with complaints about violations and queries. European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Giovanni Buttarelli"I expect first GDPR fines for some cases by the end of the year."
At the crossroads: China, Europe & the US offer different 'internet freedom' models | TheDrum.com: "Europe, the crucible for democracy and capitalism, seems more aware than the US and China of the need to set the boundaries for how institutions and businesses can use the data of its citizens. With GDPR, there is an explicit recognition that power needs to be given back to the citizen to offer checks and balances against a non-transparent world of internet disruption that has recently shown the limitations of self-regulation."
  • US: Telling Congress How to Protect Consumer Data Privacy--eff.org.
  • EGYPT: Facebook drove Egypt's revolution. Now it's being used as a weapon to oppress women--wired.co.uk: Egyptian law enforcement is using the country's new law against “fake news” to imprison women who share their sexual harassment experiences on social platforms.

5) Most Read Posts this past week on DomainMondo.com: 
graphic "Domain Mondo" ©2017 DomainMondo.com

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo 

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Tech Review | Future Finance: Smart Contracts on the Blockchain (video)

graphic "Tech Review" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
Tech Review (TR 2018-10-20)--Domain Mondo's weekly review of tech investing news with commentary, analysis and opinion: Features • 1) Future Finance: Smart Contracts on the Blockchain, 2) Bitcoin Detectives: Cracking the ​Blockchain, 3) Investing: The Week, Investing Notes: US, Europe, China, 4) ICYMI Tech News: Amazon AWS JEDI & HQ2, Facebook, Google, Apple, Twitter, Wirecard.

1) "Future Finance" Forum 2018: Smart Contracts on the Blockchain

A lively panel discussion on the divergence in the blockchain ecosystem between cryptocurrencies and other private permission systems and how smart contracts are evolving, moderated by Ray Chan, Senior Correspondent, FinanceAsia, with Panelists: Paul Sin, Consulting Partner, Deloitte, Angelina Kwan, Managing Director, Head of Regulatory Compliance, HKEX, Joshua Kroeker, Blockchain/DLT Lead, Global Commercial Banking, HSBC, Lawrence Ma, President, HK Blockchain Society, Douglas W. Arner, Professor, Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong. The session was filmed at the "Future Finance - Adapting to Disruption" Forum held at Island Shangri-La Hong Kong on Wednesday, 7th February 2018. Thomson Reuters video published Oct 5, 2018.
Blockchain graphic ©2018 DomainMondo.com
See also: From Farm to Blockchain: Walmart Tracks Its Lettuce | NYTimes.com Sep 24, 2018: The giant retailer will begin requiring lettuce and spinach suppliers to contribute to a blockchain database that can rapidly pinpoint contamination.

2) Bitcoin Detectives: Cracking the ​Blockchain

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has a problem as old as money itself​ -- theft​. And that's giving rise to a new profession: bitcoin detectives like Kim Nilsson, a victim of the massive Mt. Gox exchange hack.

3) Investing
graphic: "INVESTING"  ©2017 DomainMondo.com
The Week: NASDAQ Composite -0.6% | S&P 500 Index +0.02%  | DJIA +0.4%

Wall Street's Charging Bull
graphic of Charging Bull | DomainMondo.com
Investing Notes: US, Europe and China
  • US is the most competitive country in the world--regaining the No. 1 spot for the first time since 2008 in an index produced by the World Economic Forum--WSJ.com
  • Eurozone: ECB's "Bubble” Warning--WolfStreet.com: "After it Caused the Most Absurd Bond Bubble Ever." See also: Bavaria election (video) clear signal the center is moving to the fringes in Germany.
  • Brexit: How 4 Experts Think It'll Impact Business (video). Four scenarios (graphic).
  • EU: VC investment in European startups plunged 21% in Q3 2018--even with Brexit looming, startups in the United Kingdom were still number one, raising 43 percent ($2.3 billion) of the total capital in Q3, accounting for 32 percent (215) of the deals. France ranked a distant second in terms of venture capital raised, $679 million, and third in number of deals (78). Germany was third in amount raised, $631 million, and second in number of deals (83).--Dow Jones VentureSource Venture Capital Report - Europe Q3 2018 (pdf).
  • China: "Most surveyed companies are now experiencing unprecedented difficulties and have become increasingly pessimistic about business prospects for the next six months ... For most, business has never been worse."--Li Wei, economics professor at CKGSB. See also: China May Have $5.8 Trillion in Hidden Debt With ‘Titanic’ Risks--Bloomberg.com.

4) ICYMI Tech News:
graphic: "ICYMI Tech News" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
• Amazon $AMZN: Amazon Web Services (AWS) is widely seen as front-runner in the race to win the US DOD $10 billion cloud-computing contract [JEDI]. Alphabet Inc. a/k/a Google withdrew last week, leaving AWS, IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft vying for the contract. Amazon Chairman & CEO Jeff Bezos said Monday at the Wired 25 Summit in San Francisco:
"If U.S. tech companies turn their backs on the Department of Defense, this country is in trouble. This is a great country and it does need to be defended." 
[Editor's note: most likely outcome? AWS wins JEDI contract, and a suburban Washington, D.C., location (northern Virginia) is chosen for Amazon HQ2.]
  • Facebook $FB: Fb.gg online gaming hub expands to mobile with the launch of the beta version of a standalone Android app--techcrunch.com.
  • Google $GOOGL: Google's real-time translations now available on Android phones and all Assistant-optimized headphones, not just Google Pixel Buds--droid-life.com. See also Android is dirty word?  ‘Android’ wasn’t said a single time during the Google Pixel 3 event--9to5google.com.
  • Apple $AAPL reportedly cut Chinese iPhone repair fraud with hidden dyes and software.
  • Wirecard (WDIG.DE), German fintech company expects core profits to grow sixfold by the middle of the next decade thanks to a boom in e-commerce and digital payments--reuters.com.

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo  

feedback & comments via twitter @DomainMondo



Unilever Q3 2018 After Plan to Move HQ from UK to Rotterdam NIXED

Unilever Drops Plan to Move HQ from London

Unilever is considering its next steps after abandoning its plan to scrap its dual-listed structure and move its headquarters to the Netherlands. It faced a groundswell of opposition from shareholders in the UK. Financial Times (ft.com) video above published Oct 5, 2018.

Q3 2018 Earnings conference call transcript | SeekingAlpha.com 18 Oct 2018.

Asked whether Unilever would propose unifying the company in London instead of Rotterdam, Unilever's CFO Graeme Pitkethly reportedly said “We always said we wanted to retain our Anglo-Dutch heritage, but it’s more complicated than just trying for PLC now that NV has failed ... I can’t speculate on the outcome of what is a big body of work to be done by the board. They will review it all again and see if there is an alternative way.”

See also:
  • TheGuardian.com: Unilever reports sales boost after HQ row but investors unimpressed - a 3.8% rise in third quarter for firm behind Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap.
  • Unilever Introduces A New 'Healthy' Ice Cream To Compete With Halo Top--forbes.com.
Unilever is a British-Dutch transnational consumer goods company co-headquartered in London, United Kingdom, and Rotterdam, Netherlands. Its products include food and beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products. It is the world's largest consumer goods company measured by 2012 revenue. List of all Unilever brands here.

The Unilever Group
Principal Domain: unilever.com

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Interview with Fintech Startup WiseAlpha CEO Rezaah Ahmad (video)

Tech Talk: interview with Rezaah Ahmad, WiseAlpha

Rezaah Ahmad, CEO, WiseAlpha, a fixed income platform giving everyday investors and savers access to corporate bonds, talks about disrupting the lending market and why the corporate debt market is ripe for digital innovation. TheBanker.com video above published Oct 8, 2018.

Domain: WiseAlpha.com

Categories: Credit, Financial Services, FinTech
Headquarters: London, England, UK
Founded: Mar 1, 2014
Founder: Rezaah Ahmad
Last Funding Type: Equity Crowdfunding

WiseAlpha is an online investment platform offering its members access via Notes to senior secured loan investments. replacing the substantial costs and complexity of investing in specialist credit funds with a simpler and more cost effective way to invest. Until now, the corporate loan market has remained largely untransformed by technological innovation but WiseAlpha is now making this asset class accessible to a wider investment audience. In order to gain access to this asset class, individual investors usually had to use brokers and/or invest in specialist debt funds which often charged substantial upfront fees and ongoing management and performance fees.

feedback & comments via twitter @DomainMondo



Berlin-based Digital Bank N26 Plans U.S. Launch Q1 2019

Berlin-based digital bank N26 (domain: n26.com) launched in the UK Oct 4, 2018, and will open in the United States in the first quarter of next year according to its CEO. The app-only bank is backed by China's tech giant Tencent, German insurer Allianz, and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

Twitter profile: "We're Europe's first mobile bank with 1.5 million customers." 

N26.com website: "The Mobile Bank - A bank account for your phone." Excerpt below:

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Netflix $NFLX Q3 2018 Earnings Video Interview Oct 16, 6pm EDT

Q3 '18 Earnings Interview

Netflix Investor Relations video above published Oct 16, 2018.

House of Cards: Season 6 (Netflix Official Trailer)

House of Cards Season 6 Coming to Netflix on November 2.
 Netflix Q3 2018 Earnings Interview
Netflix Q3 2018 Earnings Video Interview October 16, 2018 6pm EDT 

Netflix, Inc.
Principal domain: Netflix.com
Investor Relations: netflixinvestor.com

Q3 2018 Earnings Release--Netflix third-quarter 2018 financial results and business outlook--letter to shareholders (pdf) and financial statements (xlsx). $NFLX shares are UP in after hours trading.

See also Netflix Crushes Estimates, Renewing Faith After July Letdown--Streaming giant adds 6.96 million users globally in quarter,  Outlook shows international markets will pace company’s growth--Bloomberg.com.

A video interview with Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings, Chief Financial Officer David Wells, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, Chief Product Officer Greg Peters and VP, IR & Corporate Development Spencer Wang will be available at 6:00 p.m. EDT. The discussion will be moderated by Eric Sheridan, UBS, with questions submitted via email.  Questions from investors should be submitted as well in advance as possible for inclusion to eric.sheridan @ ubs.com. The video interview can be accessed on the Netflix Investor Relations YouTube channel.

Netflix is a media services provider, headquartered in Los Gatos, California, founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in Scotts Valley, California. 

The primary business of Netflix is its subscription-based streaming media service, which offers online streaming films and television programs including those produced in-house. As of July 2018, Netflix has 130 million total subscribers worldwide, including 57.38 million in the United States. Its service is available worldwide except mainland China, Syria, North Korea and Crimea. Netflix also has offices in the Netherlands, Brazil, India, Japan, and South Korea.

See also: Barry Diller Says Hollywood Risks Getting Overtaken by Amazon and Netflix.

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BlackRock’s Rick Rieder: Technology Stocks Are Not Overvalued (video)

Technology stocks aren’t overvalued: BlackRock’s Rick Rieder

Rick Rieder, BlackRock.com’s CIO of global fixed income, discusses his outlook on technology stocks and why he owns Tesla $TSLAFoxBusiness.com video published Oct 12, 2018.

"The BlackRock GPS signals that G7 growth remains solid and above-trend. The gap between the GPS and consensus expectations has widened slightly over the past month, suggesting that scope for upside growth surprises remains in coming quarters, particularly in the US"--Blackrock.com.

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News Review | Fadi, Akram & Donuts, ICANN Conflicts of Interest

graphic "News Review" ©2016 DomainMondo.com
Domain Mondo's weekly internet domain news review (NR 2018-10-14 with analysis and opinion: Features • 1) a. ICANN News: Fadi Chehade, Akram Atallah & Donuts--Conflicts of Interest at ICANN--Who Me? b. GDPR & ICANN WHOIS Data EPDP, c. ICANN63 starts Saturday, 2) Q3 2018 Earnings Season: Verisign $VRSN & GoDaddy $GDDY3) ICYMI Internet Domain News, 4) Most Read.

EPDP Team F2F Saturday Meeting Oct 20, 2018 (1 of 4 at ICANN63) 8:30 CEST - 18:30 CEST

1) ICANN News
graphic "ICANN | Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers"
a. Fadi Chehade, Akram Atallah & Donuts--Conflicts of Interest at ICANN--Who Me?
Fadi Chehade (L) and Akram Atallah (R) at ICANN44 (source: icannphotos)
a. Donuts Press Release, October 9, 2018 – "Donuts Inc., the global leader in high-quality, new top-level Internet domains [new gTLDs], today announced that Akram J. Atallah [ICANN Global Domains Division President] will assume the role of chief executive officer [CEO], effective November 12, 2018 ..."

Clueless Goran Marby, ICANN President & CEO 9 Oct 2018:
"I want to extend my warmest wishes to Akram Atallah, President, Global Domains Division, who has decided to leave ICANN org for another opportunity after eight years, effective immediately ... I have asked Cyrus Namazi [crony of Akram Atallah], VP, DNS Industry Engagement, Global Domains Division, to serve as interim department head for the Global Domains Division, to help ensure a smooth transition ..."
Editor's note: as I previously noted--
source: abry.com/investment/donuts/ 10 Oct 2018
September 9, 2018--Editor's Analysis and Opinion:
"... The largest new gTLDs registry operator (more than 200 new gTLDs), Donuts Inc., announced Sep 5, 2018, that it had entered into an agreement "to be acquired by Abry Partners," a private equity firm in which former ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade is now a partner. Terms and timing of the agreement were not disclosed, but Abry's investment is reportedly only for a majority stake in privately held Donuts, and does not provide any additional cash for the company, instead, it provides a way for original investors in Donuts to exit.
While still ICANN CEO, Chehade announced in May, 2015, he would leave ICANN in March 2016, long before his contract ended on June 30, 2017, and did not disclose his reasons for serving as ICANN CEO for only 3½ years, instead of his full term. In August, 2015, he announced that after leaving ICANN he would be a "Senior Advisor on Digital Strategy" at Boston-based Abry Partners, adding, "I expect to add other roles to my portfolio and will update you all as appropriate." Later in December 2015, Chehade announced from Wuzhen, China, that he would serve, after he left ICANN, as Co-Chair [other Co-Chair Jack Ma] of an advisory committee to the government of China's World Internet Conference (WIC), described by Professor Milton Mueller as "like almost everything in China, the WIC is unabashedly state-driven ... a vehicle for the Chinese [Communist] Party-state’s policy agenda ..." 
As ICANN CEO, Fadi Chehade's pet project was the NetMundial Initiative [Co-Chaired by Chehade and Jack Ma], which "crashed and burned" when ICANN and the World Economic Forum stopped funding it in 2016. In February, 2015, at a DNA meeting during ICANN52, Chehade stated, "I need to understand it [the domain name industry] more and spend more time in it, no question."
While at ICANN, Chehade was known for hiring and promoting his cronies to management positions within ICANN. Chehade promoted, in June, 2013, his childhood friend and former co-worker, Akram Atallah, to the then second-highest paid position at ICANN, President of the Global Domains Division (GDD), which is now [was] the highest paid position at ICANN at  $745,615.00 per the most recently available IRS 990 (pdf), p.56 of 81.
Perhaps it was for some or all of these reasons, that Abry Partners decided to venture into an industry where it has no experience--the domain name industry--despite what Abry says on its website, abry.com: "Abry invests in private equity, preferred stock and debt securities within our sectors of expertise ..."
October 2, 2016"Fadi Chehadé quit as ICANN CEO 3½ years into a 5 year contract, but unfortunately, he left behind his legacy of cronyism at the organization [ICANN]:
"... Chehade and COO Akram Atallah – who are old friends – brought in more and more of their own people ... Not all of them were best suited or qualified, but real frustration developed when jobs were filled without the job even being posted internally. Nora Abusitta-Ouri, a former classmate of Chehade’s, became vice president of public responsibility programs. Former neighbor Susanna Bennett became Chief Operating Officer. Former co-worker Chris Gift became vice president of online community services. Former co-worker Allen Grogan became chief contracting counsel and then when that job finished, chief contract compliance officer. Neighbor of Atallah, Elizabeth Hoover became HR manager. Former co-worker Cyrus Namazi became vice president of industry engagement. Old friend Ashwin Rangan became chief innovation and information officer. The wife of a former co-worker, Maguy Serad, became vice president of contractual compliance. Another former neighbor, Christine Willett, became vice president of gTLD operations. In all, only one member of the C-suite hired since Chehade came on board has not been a friend or former co-worker ..."--IoNmag.asia Jun 25, 2015.
“Given how quickly these two individuals sped through the revolving door [at ICANN], one can’t help but wonder if thinking about their next career move influenced their policy [implementation] decisions,’’ said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.--Washington Post, August 20, 2011.
ICANN was admonished by NTIA in 2012, to little avail obviously--and ICANN's sordid history includes episodes involving an ICANN Board Chairman, and ICANN's Chief Strategy Officer "architect of the new gTLDs program." Now a former ICANN President & CEO and his crony President of the Global Domains Division add another chapter.

All of that "confidential" privileged and proprietary information ICANN required new gTLD applicants and their principals to submit to ICANN's Global Domains Division (GDD), is now (or soon will be) also known by their largest new gTLDs' competitor Donuts (240 new gTLDs) by virtue of the former GDD President being Donuts CEO--talk about an unfair competitive advantage!  ICANN runs such a slipshod operation that every new gTLD applicant should always assume all information they ever submit to ICANN, will also be known by at least one of their competitors in the future.

As I noted in my recent comment (pdf) to ICANN on the new gTLDs program, ICANN's founding Chair, Esther Dyson, warned the U.S. government and global internet community against both the IANA transition and the new gTLDs program, saying in 2011 about the proposed new gTLDs program:
We are not running out of domains. This is a “way for registries and registrars to make money.”--source.
Little did we know that among the people who would personally be enriching themselves the most from ICANN’s corrupt new gTLDs program and policy (developed solely for the benefit of “contracted parties,” i.e., registry operators and registrars, not registrants), would be the two most senior officers at ICANN, who guided and were in charge of the full implementation of the program!

In addition to the multiple Fadi-Akram-Donuts conflicts of interest at ICANN now, and in the future,  Donuts and ICANN are currently in litigation against each other, and Akram Atallah is a material witness in that case, as well as one other pending case, and possible future litigation. The very same day as Akram's appointment as Donuts CEO (and resignation as President of ICANN's Global Domains Division) was announced, the appeal of Ruby Glen (Donuts affiliate) vs ICANN was being argued before a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit:

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Oral Argument video: Ruby Glen, LLC v. ICANN

Oct 9, 2018, 16-56890 Ruby Glen, LLC v. ICANN oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Ruby Glen, LLC appeals the district court's Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) dismissal of its diversity (jurisdiction) action against Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), seeking to temporarily enjoin ICANN from conducting the new gTLD .WEB auction [see District Court Order 2:16-cv-05505-PA-AS (pdf), and the Appellate Briefs].

Listen to the oral arguments of counsel for Ruby Glen (Donuts) and ICANN. At one point (starting at 21:19), counsel for ICANN concedes that Donuts (Ruby Glen) has a further right to file an IRP (Independent Review Process) whenever .WEB is no longer "on hold" status at ICANN, which sets up the interesting possibility that Donuts (Ruby Glen) could further attack the .WEB auction, as may also Afilias, either of which if successful in disqualifying Nu Dot Co (Verisign), could result in a new .WEB auction in which Donuts (Ruby Glen), now financed by Abry Partners' unknown investors a/k/a 'limited partners' (Chinese?), outbids Afilias for new gTLD .WEB.

UPDATE: The Ninth Circuit issued its "Not for Publication" decision (pdf) Oct 15, 2018, affirming the District Court's dismissal of Ruby Glen's (Donuts) First Amended Complaint, stating, inter alia: 
"... Ruby Glen is not without recourse—it can challenge ICANN’s actions through the Independent Review Process [IRP] .... Because Ruby Glen may pursue its claims through the Independent Review Process, the covenant not to sue is not “so one-sided as to shock the conscience.” See Walnut Producers of Cal. v. Diamond Foods, Inc., 187 Cal. App. 4th 634, 647–48 (2010) ..." (emphasis added)
Related: ICANN Board Liasons' Letter (pdf) re: ICANN New gTLDs' Filthy Lucre (new gTLD auction proceeds).

ICANN EPDP Meetings this coming week:
Non-members of the EPDP working group can follow the Oct 16 meeting via Adobe Connect, or audio cast via browser or application. The EPDP meeting on Oct 20 can be followed remotely by clinking the link on the meeting's ICANN63 pageLinks to all EPDP meetings' transcripts and recordings are on the GNSO calendar. Other EPDP links: wikimail listaction itemsTemp SpecEPDP Charter (pdf), Data Elements Workbooks (pdf), GNSO Council's updatesEPDP page.

Highlights of the EPDP Meetings Oct 9-11:
EPDP meeting to discuss retaining independent legal counsel Oct 10--chat transcript:
Stephanie Perrin (NCSG): we are not doing training, we are doing legal drafting. Let us not have any illusions about that. Who goes into a legal drafting exercise without an advising counsel? ...
Farzaneh Badii (NCSG): how much did they [ICANN] spend for the lawsuit against EPAG? Ayden Férdeline (NCSG): exactly Farzi ... perhaps we just weren't given an adequate budget ... Farzaneh Badii (NCSG): nope we were not. Stephanie Perrin (NCSG): So this is arguably the biggest policy argument in the history of ICANN, and we are pinching pennies? ... Berry Cobb (ICANN staff): From a budget perspective, we in effect have at most $168K without afffecting other line items such as funds set aside for F2F.

Thursday Oct 11 transcript (pdf), pp. 37-38:
Stephanie Perrin (NCSG): "... I’d just like to note that we had a discussion last night about why we need legal counsel independent, neutral legal counsel who is familiar with data protection law to be on this call to stop this going in circles. In my view this is a good example. We continue to conflate the legitimate interests of third parties, that would be BC interests, to combat trademark abuse, law enforcement interests, cybercrime interests to combat, you know, malware and other kinds of DNS abuse. We continue to conflate those interests with the purpose of the collection, use and disclosure of the information, which is a primary relationship between the individual or entity getting a domain name and the delegated party that provides the ability to the Internet with that domain name. Right? That’s the primary purpose of registering a domain name. All these other interests are interests, they are not purposes. ICANN was instructed to pay attention to all of these other interests but that does not make them purposes in a relationship. So really to suggest that we are not going to facilitate the legitimate interests is unfair. We are working on how to facilitate those legitimate interests. But that is an instrument. The purpose of ICANN is not to set up Whois; it is to permit the registration of domain names. And while the purpose of ICANN in the context of GDPR has been stated as being continuing the Whois to the maximum extent possible, that is not a shared belief; that is a position taken by ICANN Legal and the Board ...".

More info on the EPDP meetings Oct 9-11 in last week's News Review.

Note also: 8 Oct 2018 Letter from Theresa Swinehart to Manal Ismail (pdf) re: ICANN Unified Access Model Status Update to Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC).

c. ICANN63 Barcelona 20-25 October 2018
ICANN63 starts Saturday, October 20, 2018, with a full schedule (all times local Barcelona CEST UTC+2)--ICANN63 info here and here--more on ICANN63 in next week's News Review.

 NCSG Letter to ICANN Board of Directors and ICANN CEO
17 Oct 2018 Letter (pdf) from NCSG (Non-Commercial Stakeholders Group), Dr. Farzaneh Badiei, and Dr. Stephanie Perrin to ICANN Board of Directors re: "ICANN org violates data protection laws and principles to advance the interests of certain parts of the community"  [Domain Name Registrants Data Protection (GDPR)].

Pre-ICANN63 Policy Report (pdf)
d. GNSO Policy Briefing ICANN63 Edition (pdf)
 GNSO Policy Briefing ICANN63 Edition

e. GNSO Council Chair Candidates' Statements: Keith Drazek (pdf); Rafik Dammak (pdf).

f. 10 Oct 2018 Letter from GAC Chair Manal Ismail (pdf) to ICANN Board Chair Cherine Chalaby and ICANN CEO--Government Advisory Committee (GAC) Request for additional Secretariat Support: "it has become clear that in 2019 there will be a period of time during which the GAC will be without the resources to support a number of the functions currently being provided."

g. Emoji & Domains: 3 Oct 2018 Letter from ICANN CTO David Conrad to GNSO Council [published 8 Oct 2018 by ICANN org]:
"Thank you for your correspondence of 26 July 2018 concerning the GNSO's understanding of SSAC095 about emoji in domain names. We agree that no further action on this matter is needed at this time."
SSAC095 (pdf) recommendations re: emoji (highlighting added):
 SSAC095 recommendations (highlighting added)

3) Names, Domains & Trademarks
graphic "Names, Domains & Trademarks" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
Q3 2018 Earnings Season:

Verisign $VRSN webcast Oct 25, 2018 at 4:30 PM EDT
GoDaddy $GDDY webcast Nov 6, 2018, 5:00 PM ESTEditor's note: Citi upgraded GoDaddy (NYSE:GDDY) from Neutral to Buy with a $86 price target, with Citi analyst Mark May citing $GDDY’s recent market correction, characterizing the company as a “nicely profitable, high FCF generative business with highly recurring subscription-based revenue, a stable competitive landscape, and a strong management team with a track record of execution.” Forecasts put revenue growth up 15% in Q3, 14% in Q4, and 11% in 2019.  Sources: Bloomberg First Word and SeekingAlpha.com Oct. 11, 2018.

4) ICYMI Internet Domain News 

graphic "ICYMI Internet Domain News" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
Reasserting cyber sovereignty: how states are taking back control by Evgeny Morozov--TheGuardian.com--The digital debate is now about trade and security – and every major nation is insisting on its technological sovereignty.

Net Neutrality: ISPs Suing California Over Net Neutrality Law--broadcastingcable.com. See also fedsoc.org: A Reader on Net Neutrality and Restoring Internet Freedom.

China: China’s Internet guidelines a ‘serious violation of people’s freedoms’--adhrrf.org

Nepal: Freedom of Expression on the Internet in Nepal | Internet Society Nepal (pdf). See also  Nepal bans porn websites to curb sexual violence--over 24,000 pornography websites blocked but activists say the real problem is the lack of justice for women--aljazeera.com.

Laos: Overcoming a government crackdown on social media in Laos--aljazeera.com.

Africa: After Troubles In Myanmar, Facebook Charges Ahead In Africa--wired.com.

US: US State Department needs a makeover for the digital age--TheHill.com.

5) Most Read Posts this past week on DomainMondo.com: 
graphic "Domain Mondo" ©2017 DomainMondo.com

-- John Poole, Editor  Domain Mondo 

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